Filing Taxes for Previous Years Online

Woman files taxes with TaxSlayer

According to the IRS, more than 1 million US taxpayers have not filed their return for tax year 2016, and those refunds are still waiting to be collected. These people must file a 2016 return by April 15, 2020, or they will no longer be able to collect their funds.

Life is full of curveballs, and sometimes things just slip through the cracks. If you have taxes that are past due, you’re probably wondering where to start. Has the deadline officially come and gone, or can you still file taxes for previous years? Fortunately, you can! We’ll walk you through it. 

How do I file back tax returns?

You can use TaxSlayer to file a return for up to three years after it is due. So for example, in 2020, you can file back taxes for years 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Simply log into your account or create a new account to begin. Then click on the “Prior Years” tab in the middle of the “My Account” page. Select the year you wish to create and click ‘Start a New Tax Return’. From there, you’ll enter the income and expense information for the year you are filing.

Once your return is complete, you will need to print out and mail in the paper copies of your forms. This is because the IRS does not support filing prior year returns electronically. The mailing address for the IRS can be found here based on the state where you live.  

When you file back taxes with TaxSlayer, you get all the correct forms and instructions for the specific year you are completing.  

How many years can you file back taxes?  

You can file returns up to three years old with TaxSlayer. If needed, you can file back further using paper filing. You can typically find the forms for earlier years on the IRS website.

The IRS typically does not investigate returns that are more than six years overdue. In other words, if your taxes are in question, your past six years of tax returns are usually the only ones that would be considered for auditing.  

You can find more information about preparing a prior year return with TaxSlayer here.  

Can I still get my tax refund if I’m filing back taxes? 

Yes, if you file the return within three years of the original due date. This time limit also applies to claiming tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Tax credits and deductions can significantly reduce your tax liability, so it’s in your best interest to file within this three-year window to get the tax breaks and the refund you deserve. If you have a prior year return that you still need to file, you can get started for free today with TaxSlayer

The information in this article is current through tax year 2019. 

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